the renowned local dj became encapsulated with the miami music scene when he moved back down to south florida in 2008, after having lived in south carolina to play professional golf. he ended up playing as a resident at the gryphon in hard rock hotel for 6 years, and has since ended up touring worldwide to places like spain, france, and colombia.
what makes him different from other local dj’s is that he tries to be like “many people, not one person.” donnie isn’t afraid to take risks, like playing a booty track in the middle of a house set. “there’s been a natural progression in dance music that’s allured me in, but I’ll always be a hip hop kid at heart: scarface, outkast, biggie, wu tang. I’ll throw them into my sets once in a while.” although, he admits that experimenting can lead to huge backfires at times, which can be one of the main challenges of being a dj, because when you mess up, everybody knows you messed up.
you can also tell that there are some influential musical styles in his sets. “because of my hip hop upbringing, there are grooves in what I do and what I make. my sound is a hot creations type of sound, very fun music that’s friendly, open, and laidback. it’s ‘more party’ than something like techno that can be serious sometimes.” his easygoing style is also reflected in his drink of choice during a performance: something simple like a cold coke, a good craft beer (wynwood and funky buddha are his faves) or even a hierbas drink from ibiza.
having met so many influential people in the music world, there are a few notable dj’s he especially respects and cherishes. “someone in the local scene I look up to is my good buddy, jeremy ismael. we play back to back at some gigs, and I find him to be one of the most genuine people in the scene. other dj’s I look up to overall are jamie jones, boris from nyc, and patrick m, who’s especially helped and guided me in the right direction.” although he’s met many people in the underground music world, he found himself to be lost for words by the legendary danny tenaglia. (who wouldn’t be!?)
there’s no doubt that the fate of underground electronic music is unknown, and has been such a hot topic of debate over the past few years. donnie feels that “a lot of underground music will be mainstream in 5 years. people find out there’s better music than what’s on the radio, so there’s not really an ‘underground’ scene. with dj’s like richie hawtin and loco dice, it’s hard to be underground when you’re headlining edm festivals, and your stage is just as big as the main stage.”
nevertheless, the next festival he’d love to play at internationally if he had the chance would be the we are fstvl in london, since it has a cool diverse lineup with a lot of underground stuff, it’s in the open air, and the fact that the british people are notoriously fun. if it were in the states, he’d have to choose movement in detroit, since it’s got a good mix of things, a lot of techno, and it’s very mature compared to other festivals in the states. that and definitely burning man.
within the past 7 years, he’s made it in the miami scene, has met many well-known edm and underground dj’s and has grown to be a huge figure locally. yet, you can still feel he’s grounded with his down-to-earth, laidback vibes. recently, he’s stepped back from djing and started building this brand of hosting different parties like sunday social at the congress hotel and picnic for misfits at steam with his buddy, brock lambert. “picnic for misfits – that’s my baby right now. we started that last year at steam, but basically our goal is to book and expose only locals. it’s a daytime party that we try to make different from other places in the city. we incorporate cool games like beer pong and cornhole, have lemonade stands and other weird funky stuff hanging around. we want it to be a family picnic vibe at steam.”
support the local underground artist and find out what he’s up to here.